Bible Commentaries
Psalms 6

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Verse 1

Psalms 6:0.

David's complaint in his sickness: by faith he triumphs over his enemies.

To the chief musician on Neginoth upon Sheminith.
A Psalm of David.

Title. השׁמינית על al hashsheminith. Upon Sheminith] Some render it, Upon the eighth. The Sheminith is generally supposed to have been a harp of eight strings. It is so rendered by the Chaldee. Fenwick renders it, on the unction; the anointing of the Holy Spirit. See his Hebrew Titles, p. 18. It is probable, that David composed this psalm upon his recovery from some great sickness. He complains in it of some grievous disorder, heightened by the malicious joy of his enemies, from which he prays to be relieved; and in a fiducial dependance that his prayer will be heard, he triumphs in the disappointment of his enemies.

Verse 2

Psalms 6:2. My bones are vexed Bones, reins, inward parts, often in scripture signify the same as heart, soul, thought; see Psa 35:10 where bones probably signify the same as here.

Verse 3

Psalms 6:3. But thou, O Lord, how long? There seems to be an ellipsis here, which is thus supplied by the Chaldee paraphrast; How long wilt thou defer to give me some refreshment? In the version of our liturgy it is: But, Lord, how long wilt thou punish me?

Verse 5

Psalms 6:5. In death there is no remembrance of thee This is meant only of the bodies of persons deceased, not of their souls; which still survive, and do not sleep till the resurrection, as some have vainly imagined; and yet even their souls are incapable of praising God in his church upon earth, of propagating his worship, or of exciting others to piety by their example. Good men, therefore, have often desired to have their lives prolonged, only that they might be capable of worshipping God, and of fully executing his will in this world, in order, as the Hebrews speak, to increase the reward of their souls in the world to come. See Isa 38:18-19 and Fenton on the Psalms.

Verse 7

Psalms 6:7. Mine eye, &c.— Mine eye is {fretted / worn away} with indignation; it is grown old because of all my oppressors. Mr. Mudge observes, that the original word עתקה athkah, rendered waxeth old, signifies to be fixed, stiffened, set in one's head. According to him, it never implies age, in the sense of decay, but duration only; and means hard, stiff, firm, durable. Parkhurst, however, rather thinks, that its proper meaning is to sink, or be sunk with grief. So Dryden,

His eye-balls in their hollow sockets sink.

Verse 8

Psalms 6:8. Iniquity The original word properly signifies vanity or falsehood; and iniquity only as it is vanity; when it is to be treated with contempt. They who practise, or employ themselves in vanity, are, I believe, always in, the meaning of the Psalmist, they who practise idol superstitions, which are all a system of vanity. David, therefore, here bids them to leave him; Depart from me; Psalms 6:9. Jehovah is my God; He will receive my prayer; Psalms 6:10. All mine enemies shall be put to shame, and be in the greatest disorder; they shall be turned back, and put to shame suddenly. See Mudge and Houbigant.

REFLECTIONS.—1. David represents his moving case to the Father of mercies, and the God of all consolation. I am weak, worn down with pining sickness; my bones are vexed with tormenting pain; and, above all my other griefs, my soul is also sore vexed, the heaviest burden under which I groan. Note; (1.) The greatest kings, and the holiest saints of God, are equally exposed with others to the sufferings of humanity. (2.) Bodily sickness is doubly afflictive, when attended with a wounded spirit. (3.) Whatever our burdens are, it is our wisdom and only relief to cast them on the Lord.

2. His sorrows were, as his anguish, great: his head was waters, and his eyes a fountain of tears, which ran down day and night; and when the source was exhausted, and the dry eye-ball stiffened in the socket, his groaning continued, till, weary and exhausted with grief, he was ready to pine away. Note; (1.) They who have ever felt a conscience wounded with the sense of sin, are no strangers to the Psalmist's tears. (2.) When our sin has been great, our sorrow should be great also.

3. He importunately cried for relief at the hands of his merciful God. Rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure: however heavily thou art pleased to lay thine hand upon me, let it be a father's rod, and not in wrath, but for correction: all my other anguish I can bear, but thy displeasure is intolerable. Have mercy upon me, forgive all that I have done amiss; heal me; the pain and sickness of my body, but much more the wounds of my soul with the precious balm of thy grace. Lord, how long shall I cry before thou hearest me? Return; thy absence is more than I can bear; lift up the light of thy countenance to chear my disconsolate heart. Deliver my soul from its sorrow, and all those enemies spiritual and temporal who long for my destruction. O save me, for thou alone, Lord, art able to help in this my time of greatest need. I own, I have no title to demand, no desert to plead, but for thy mercies' sake, as an act of unmerited grace, and undeserved favour.

4. He strengthens his requests with an argument drawn from God's glory: In death there is no remembrance of thee; in the grave who shall give thee thanks? I cannot there offer thee praise for my recovery, or encourage others by my experience to trust upon thee. I can there no more serve thee in my generation, or lead the song of worship in thy sanctuary. Note; Though to depart and be with Christ is far better; yet, for God's glory, and the church's good, the saints of God who are ripest for heaven may desire to live.

5. While he is speaking, God hears and answers; and therefore, ere he rises from his knees, the language of triumphant faith breaks forth, and, as the sun dispels the darkness, light and gladness return to his afflicted soul.
[1.] He is divinely assured, that his prayers and tears had not been disregarded; that his requests are granted; and still a throne of grace open for every farther petition, with full confidence of success: the Lord hath heard my present, and will receive my future prayer.

[2.] He bids the workers of iniquity depart, confounded while they beheld the happy change: or he expresses his own holy purpose to keep himself henceforth from the ways of the destroyer, and to have no fellowship with the ungodly.
[3.] He predicts the dreadful and sudden destruction of those who troubled and triumphed over him in his distress. Shame at their disappointment, and vexation at his prosperity, shall cover them: they shall return from persecuting him, confounded at his deliverance, so unlike what they looked for, and sudden judgment overtake them in this world, or everlasting confusion be their portion in the world to come. Note; (1.) The devices of the enemies of God's people, spiritual and temporal, shall be surely disappointed. (2.) They who return not now to God in penitence, must shortly depart from him into everlasting burnings.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 6". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. 1801-1803.